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Stax Records Musical in Development, Aiming for Broadway

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Jul 10, 2014 10:55 AM EDT

Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MGs, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus and Carla Thomas--so many legends of soul and R&B wrote and recorded for Stax Records that in its heyday in the 1960s and early 1970s the legendary label became Motown's primary competition. With the Broadway success of Motown: The Musical, should we be surprised to learn that a jukebox musical focusing on Stax is in the works?

Grammy-winning and Academy Award-nominated producer Stuart Benjamin and Concord Music Group are developing a musical around the story of Stax with a goal of bringing it to Broadway in the spring of 2016. Matthew Benjamin will write the book.

With its integrated artist roster and staff, Stax Records made a permanent mark not just on popular music but on American culture as a whole. Artists who weren't on the label, like Elvis Presley and Wilson Pickett, recorded at Stax's studios as well, and its house band became legendary.

Stuart Benjamin and his New Visions Music Group had a hand in producing the films Ray, Against All Odds, White Nights, La Bamba and Everybody's All American among others. But he is no stranger to the stage, having produced two jukebox musicals already. The hit Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara will begin touring this year after an 18-month run at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. And Unchain My Heart…The Ray Charles Musical with a book by Susan-Lori Parks ran at at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2007 under the title Ray Charles Live! A New Musical.

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TagsStax Records, Motown, jukebox musical, broadway, musical theater, Broadway Musical, Otis Redding